Beautiful uncancelled stock certificate from the Conglomerate Mining Company
issued in 1884. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company, Philadelphia and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of miners working underground. This item has the hand signatures of the Company's officers President, Edward Hoopes, Treasurer, Geo. H. Lewars,.
Commissioner of Mineral Statistics for Michigan 1882
THE CONGLOMERATE MINE.
Of the mines on the eastern portion of the peninsula there are none worthy of present mention until we reach the Conglomerate mine.
The Conglomerate Mining Company has undertaken the largest mining enterprise ever attempted in the Keweenaw district, and naturally it attracts a good deal of attention and is the object of considerable public interest. The Conglomerate is the fourth organization that has been made to operate mines on the same location; commencing in an early day with the Northwest Company, which was succeeded by the Pennsylvania Mining Company, and this latter in turn by the Delaware, and in 1881 the Delaware relinquished to its present more brilliant successor. The earlier companies worked in fissure veins south of the greenstone, and all of them, after exhausting their capital stock, in addition to expending the funds which were derived from the sales of copper produced, were compelled to reorganize.
The Conglomerate company was formed to work the well-known belt of conglomerate which underlies the greenstone and which it was believed gave ample assurance of affording the metallic richness requisite to insure success. Certainly it would seem that only the fullest confidence in the metalliferous value of the lode would justify the extensive preparations which have been made, and are still in progress, and the enormous expenditure incurred. The shafts were begun in December, 1880, but were not pushed until 1881; in the short space of two years a large mine has been opened; it illustrates the rapidity with which openings are made. This great extent of opening is all in advance of the stoping, and is done simply with the view to be in readiness to meet the demands upon the mine for rock when the machinery shall be in readiness to crush it. The new mining plant will be of a magnitude commensurate with the extended underground work. In fact, everything done is upon a scale necessary for a first-class mine, in the sense that is now understood by that term in the copper country. It means the mining and treating in the stamp mill of 500 or 600 tons of rock per day, and this is what the management of the Conglomerate design to do. The mine has been so extensively opened with this end in view; the hoisting, compressor plant, etc., are of a power to meet the largest demands; and the stamp mill now building at Lac La Belle will have a capacity to treat 600 tons per day. The mine is opened to the 6th level to a maximum depth of 1,130 feet, and
The longest level is 2,000 in length; the drifts are unusually large, 9x12 feet, and the aggregate length of them is 6,000 feet. The shafts are also of ample size, being 10x14 feet, on a uniform inclination and in perfect line ; their aggregate length is 1,280 feet.
They have derived material advantage in the work of opening the new mine, by having the old Northwest mine to work from. This latter is a fissure vein and crosses at nearly right angles to the formation and hence to the conglom£rate belt which runs with the formation; the levels are driven from those in the Northwest; these latter are about 60 feet, vertically, apart, and this brings the levels in the new mine nearly 160 feet apart on the lay, which is at an angle of 22J degrees with the horizon. There is a disadvantage arising from using the old mine, in the surface arrangements, which is chiefly in the fact that the rock-house is in a line with the old vein, at some distance to the south, and so a separate track must be run to each of the new shafts and finally come into one leading to the rock-house; these tracks are all laid on elevated trestle work, and the cars are run to and fro with a small locomotive engine. By a system of switches and side-tracks, the several shaft houses are reached. The arrangements are probably as complete as can be devised under the circumstances, but if the rock-house were in line with the shafts, as they are at most of the other great mines, it would be much more convenient. The rock-house is a good one, large and adequate, and as it has been built but a few years, it was not deemed advisable to discard it and build anew. The elevated track comes along the west side of the building near the top of it, and the cars discharge their contents into it by side dump. No work is doing in the old vein. The building for the new hoisting machinery will be located between No. 1 and No.
2 shafts, and the machinery which has been procured is deemed to be of sufficient power to operate the mine to a depth of 3,000 feet. The hoisting shafts will be No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3. The skip roads are very firm and true, so that the run of the skips up and down them may be safe and rapid. The new duplex compressor is a splendid machine, set in a stone fire-proof building and on a solid foundation; it has a capacity sufficient to operate 50 drills; they now operate from 12 to 20, No. 3 Rand.
A new stamp mill is building at Lac La Belle, which, when completed, will be one of the best appointed in the State. The building is already enclosed, and the machinery is putting into place. The situation of the mill is one of the best that could be desired; nature has done all that art could wish. It is placed on the level ground a few feet above the surface of the lake, and behind it, and on one side, rises the vertical wall of rock that attains to just the necessary height for the rock bins—the building being placed at a proper distance from the face of the bluff to have sufficient space for containing these shutes. The railroad track will run over these bins and the cars discharge the rock directly into them, whence it will run down under the stamp heads as required. The water contained in a small stream on top of the bluff will be conducted into the mill in a launder, but the additional water required will be derived from the lake. To obtain this a tunnel is being driven from the lake to the mill—160 feet in length—the bottom of the adit will be level, and a few feet below the surface of the water; at the inner end is a sump from which the water will be raised with the pump.
Two sets of Babcock & Wilcox boilers are in place, of capacity to furnish all the necessary steam, 640-horse power. The stamps are three in number, of the largest size Ball heads, 10-inch shaft, built at the Cuyahoga works, Ohio, of the same pattern as the one now in use in the Peninsula company's stamp mill. They are calculated to treat 200 tons each per day. The stamp mill building is capacious and substantial, the foundation being all upon the solid ledge, so that there can be no settling; it is all one inclosure, but somewhat in sections —that portion in which the stamps are placed being 25x75 feet, and the washhouse room beyond being 60x116 feet, with engine room, etc., projecting from the sides. Collum's jigs will be used and Evans's slime tables.
There is a small smelting furnace standing not far from the stamp mill, that was built by the old Lac La Belle or Mendota company, and it is thought possible that the Conglomerate company may use it. The railroad from the mine to the lake is seven miles in length, and makes a total ascent of 580 feet; it is now grading, and it is expected that it will be completed by September next, 1883. The line has been located by Mr. Chas. H. Palmer, Jr.n ii very accomplished engineer, and seems to have been excellently well chosen; all deep cuts are avoided—a necessary precaution against deep snows in winter—and the maximum grade is only three per cent, and that for no considerable distance; the maximum curve is 19 degrees, and that occurring on a low grade. The gauge is to be three feet; the distance to the mill is six and three-fourths miles, the additional one-fourth of a mile being required to get down to the lake, to the dock. The road will of course be built by the mining company for the sole use of the mine, but it is found that it may be necessary to organize under the general railroad laws of the State in order to secure the right of way. The line of the road is entirely within the Conglomerate company's lands, except for a short distance where it crosses a corner of property owned by the Resolute Mining Company, an organization that never did any work, but which owns some unoccupied lands in this vicinity, and which refuses to concede the privilege of allowing the railroad to cross any portion of it.
Lac La Belle is an inland lake, two and a half miles in length, east and west, and from one-half to a mile in width. It lies in townships 57 and 58, north, being across the town line, and in range 29; it is west from Bete Grise Bay in Lake Superior, about three-fourths of a mile, and is connected therewith by a natural channel one and a fourth miles long and by an artificial one which is cut directly east and west through the south half of section 34, town 58, range 29, and is three-fourths of a mile long.
This canal was completed in 1866 by the Mendota Mining Company, and cost ti00,000; the channel was made of sufficient depth for vessels drawing eleven and one-fourth feet of water. The company received from the United States government, in aid of this work, a grant of 100,000 acres of land, and a further concession was made by the board of supervisors of the county, allowing the company to collect toll from vessels passing through the canal according to a schedule of rates fixed by the board. This canal was not very efficiently built; the piers were not extended far enough and were not substantial enough, and as no subsequent dredging was done, the canal has become partially filled with sand, so that for many years no vessels could pass through it. But in fact there never was any business at Lac La Belle to make it an inducement for vessels to enter it.
The Mendota company began work on a black oxide of manganese deposit, and built a small smelting furnace at the lake; they also laid out a village
plat and built a number of houses on the north side of the lake; it was anticipated that the mining interests in the vicinity would prove prosperous, that the railroad to the Pennsylvania and other mines along the range would be built, and shipments for these mines would come to this harbor; but the whole enterprise was a failure; the mines about Lac La Belle proved worthless, as far as they were proved; the railroad was not built, the canal was allowed to choke up with sand, and the whole interests of the company here were abandoned. The lands of the company were sold for taxes, and there was no probability of the Mendota company resuming a foothold in the country. But that company still holds the charter to the canal, and now that the Conglomerate company are building the railroad, the stamp mill, etc., with the view to use the harbor, it becomes necessary that the canal shall be improved so that vessels can enter. To this end the Conglomerate company are negotiating for the transfer to themselves of the franchise of this canal company, which, if they secure, they will undertake the work of improvement.
The Conglomerate company hold the lands formerly owned by the Mendota company, and it is proposed to relinquish some of these as an offset for the transfer of the canal. By this improvement Lac La Belle would become a secure harbor; the water is said to be deep and everywhere free from shoals and rocks, and it would no doubt become of some importance to the general navigation of the lake, as a harbor of refuge in case of a storm or distress. Aside from its value in these respects Lac La Belle, as its name indicates, is in itself an object of intrinsic beauty; it possesses many advantages in this particular that few similar places can rival. The stamp mill, dock, etc., is upon the north side of the lake near the west end.
But to return to the mine, since it is upon this that is based all the expenditure and expectation of remuneration for the outlay. As previously stated, the mine is in the conglomerate belt that underlies the greenstone, and which at this point is very wide, 20 to 28 feet. It is a dry, coarse, moderately firm conglomerate, showing lateral and transverse slides; the copper, when it occurs, is found along the foot-wall to a width of ten or twelve feet. There is also copper in the rock next to the hanging, as is shown in several places where crossncutting has been done to the hanging—but in these points the width of the copper is but a foot or two, and unless it shall show wider, generally, than this, it will hardly pay to mine for it. The mine is so extensively opened, with so small an amount of stoping having been done, that it is difficult to safely judge of its probable value; there is a great deal of barren ground, and there are also, to be sure, more limited stretches of lode, well charged with copper; but what proportion they bear to each other it is impossible to say; one might hazard an opinion but it might be a wrong one either way. One sees in going through the whole mine a great deal of copper, and the copper shoots seem to be persistent; some of the rock is very rich, some of it moderately so, but just what per centage it will average when six hundred tons per day are mined, I am not prepared to state. One great difficulty that must be met with in working this mine must arise from the extreme flatness of the lode, 22| degrees: the rock will not roll down and will have to be handled over, shoveled down to the levels. Of course in so long a distance, 160 feet, this will be impossible, and "medium" levels will have to be opened, or lateral tracks run up either way diagonally along the foot-wall, crossing each other and extendiug from one level to the other.
The latter plan would be very feasible and the proper one to adopt were it not for the bars of barren ground that will have to be left, which will not pay to stope; these may render it impossible to extend tramways diagonally upward. To get the rock down from the upper breast stopes will be a serious matter in the economical working of the mine, and the additional work cannot add less than 25 cents per ton to the mining cost. The mine is dry and is very easily entered and ascended from.
So far, of course, the rock that has been worked up iu the old stamp mill, has been taken mainly from the openings, and does not make a very good showing. During the past year there has been stamped 41,104 tons of rock, which represents 56 per cent of the amount actually broken. The yield of the mineral was 991,375 lbs., which smelted gave 671,681 lbs. of refined copper.
The stamp mill expense per ton of rock treated was $1.06
Tons of rock treated in mine, per cord of wood used, 7.50
The total number of feet drifted was 3,029 3-10
Cost per foot for drifting, $10.52, which price included everything connected
with the work, besides the profit on supplies furnished.
Average days' work, men and boys, per foot d ri fted, 4.29
Average supplies per foot charged up by company, $5.31
Total number of feet of sinking done, 2,1 b2 8-10
Average cost per foot, $12.21
Average number of days' work per foot, 2.65
Average supplies per foot furnished by company, $5.63
Total number of cubic fathoms of stoping done, 2,563.54
Average cost per cubic fathom, $9.23
Average number days' work per cubic fathom stoped, 1.81
Average supplies per fathom stoped, furnished, $5.09
Total amount of cross-cutting done, feet 321
Average cost per foot for cross-cutting, $12.53
Average days' work per foot for cross-cutting, 3.12
Average supplies per foot for cross-cutting, $4.58
The cross-cutting was from foot to hanging wall.
Total amount of stoping in cross-cuts, fathoms 136.75
Average cost per cubic fathom cross-cutting stope, $11.40
Average days' work per cubic fathom cross-cutting stope, 2.28
Average supplies per cubic fathom cross-cutting stope, $5.87
Total amount of cubic fathoms in cutting fiats, 105.66
Average cost of cubic fathoms in cutting fiats, $12.12
Average days' work per cubic fathom cutting flats, 2.52
Average supplies per cubic fathom cutting flats, $4.70
Which includes timberiug.
Average wages paid for drifting—power drill work, per day, $2.12
Average wages paid for sinking—power drill work, per day, 2.30
Average wages paid for stoping—power drill work, per day, 2.C2
Average wages paid for crossncutting—power drill work, per day,.. 2.42
Average wages paid for cross-cutting stope—drill work, per day, 2.21
Average wages paid for cross-cutting plats—drill work, per day,... 2.93
Average wages paid for cross-cutting three shafts—drill work, per day, 2.93
Average wages paid for all contract miners, per day, 2.18
Average wages paid for all company account miners, per day, 1.73
Average wages paid for all underground laborers other than miners, 1.44
Average number of men employed, 350.
The number of men employed during the coming summer will be increased to 500, including the railroad laborers.
The yield of mineral in the rock treated, was 1.22%.
The number of tons broken in the mine was 8rt/JOO. Nunber of tons rock hoisted was 75,000. The cost per ton of rock broken in the mine was $2.52. This was distributed over a great extent of sinking and drifting.
It is found that the loss of copper in the tailings is 69-100 of one per cent. Fifteen dollars per share, on 50,000 share?, has been called and expended, and a further call recently made of $3 per share, making the total assessments so far $18 per share—$900,000.
There are about 200 good houses on the location; 18 new ones have been built the past year; they are all on stone foundations, and are frame buildings, painted, etc. Everything at this mine is done in a substantial workmanlike manner.
The stamp mill will be completed in about July next, and the railroad in about September.
The capital stock is $2,500,000, divided into 100,000 shares, 50,000 of which are fully paid up.
The officers are H. C. Davis, President; Chas. M. Foulke, Treasurer; Geo. H. Lewars, Secretary. Business office, 205 Walnut Place, Philadelphia, Pa. Mine office, Delaware, Mich.